This toolkit has been made possible by the generous contribution of the European Commission, through the Structuring the Cultural Sector in the Pacific for Improved Human Development project. The toolkit was drafted following the Cultural Policy Workshop held at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) headquarters in Nouméa, New Caledonia from 25–28 March 2010, and is designed to provide guidance to countries and territories carrying out the cultural mapping, planning and policy process.
Culture permeates political, economic and social life across Oceania. Because indigenous peoples and practices have predominated across this region for hundreds – and, in some places, thousands – of years, culture is lived and directly influences the values, decisions and hopes of Pacific Island peoples. Culture in Oceania is primarily understood to reference the people or customs ‘of the land’ but in the 21st century many other ideas, beliefs and practices have now taken root. In addition, Pacific populations are increasingly mobile and have settled beyond their indigenous homelands. Similarly, the Islands have welcomed new migrants from other countries. Culture therefore involves old, new and continuously developing modes of thinking, being and creating.
Globally, this cultural process is of great economic and social importance: many countries in Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Caribbean prioritise culture for national investment, capacity building, human development, peace and security, economic growth and communal revitalisation. In the international context, culture is increasingly central to ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ – two concepts that are at the heart of the cultural or creative industries. In the Pacific Island region, however, these industries are not clearly defined and programmes or policies on culture are still seen to be primarily about promoting or safeguarding tangible and intangible cultural heritage including traditional knowledge.
Source: Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)
Related topics: Building Critical Awareness of cultural mapping. A Workshop Facilitation Guide. (UNESCO, 2009)